The Alberta government’s efforts to encourage development of the province’s abundant wind energy resource and diversify its fossil-fuel dependent economy has captured the attention of investors who see a long-term opportunity for growth in the market, according to wind industry leaders who met today at The Westin Edmonton for the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s (CanWEA) Alberta Summit.
About 185 established and emerging players in Canada’s wind energy sector attended the one-day event, which explored the economic and environmental benefits of Alberta’s plan to get 30% of its electricity supply from renewable sources by 2030.
“Alberta’s aggressive, but achievable, target to have 30% of its electricity come from renewable energy by 2030 promises significant opportunities for our industry and significant economic and environmental benefits for the province,” said CanWEA President, Robert Hornung. “Our focus as an industry needs to be on delivering those benefits to Albertans in a responsible and sustainable way.”
With billions of dollars of new investment expected to flow into the province as it adds 5,000 MW of new renewables to its grid over the next 14 years, delegates discussed opportunities for Alberta-based companies to generate new business by participating in the wind energy supply chain.
Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips delivered the Summit’s keynote luncheon address, showcasing her government’s climate strategy and the role wind energy will play in meeting its objectives.
“Our government’s renewable energy program is part of a made-in-Alberta plan to create jobs, diversify our economy, attract investment, and reduce carbon pollution. The strong interest shown by industry ensures a highly competitive process that will allow us to achieve all of those goals at the lowest possible cost,” said Honorable Phillips.
Mike Law, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), updated delegates on the province’s competitive renewable energy procurement plans, including the process for the first 400 MW launched in March.
“The Renewable Electricity Program is designed to maximize participation and minimize overall costs. Renewables developers from Canada and around the world have expressed strong interest in the first competition, and we expect a very competitive and successful first round,” said Law.
Expert panelists also advised on best practices for engaging with communities, reviewed the proactive steps being taken to manage wind’s environmental impacts, weighed in on how Alberta’s electricity market needs to evolve to enable the transition to a low-carbon future, and tackled persistent myths surrounding renewable energy reliability.